Apologies for the African slave trade should come from the chiefs who sold their people and not from President Clinton during his tour of the continent, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Sunday.
Saying "black traitors" were more to blame than European slavers, Museveni rejected the view of some African-Americans that Clinton should publicly atone for a traffic that forcibly took millions of Africans to America in the 17th and 18th centuries.
"I don't have time for that diversion or rubbish," he said in an interview in Kampala, Clinton's second stop on a six-nation tour starting in Ghana today.
"African chiefs were the ones waging war on each other and capturing their own people and selling them. If anyone should apologize it should be the African chiefs. We still have those traitors here even today."
Uganda is a significant stop on the first substantial visit to Africa by an incumbent U.S. president.
Museveni's growing stature, both as a leader who has transformed his country and as a regional power-broker, is likely to be further strengthened during Clinton's two-day stay.
The highlight will be a summit on Wednesday, co-hosted by the two presidents, for leaders from East and Central Africa.
Clinton starts his tour in Ghana, the first former colony in Africa to gain independence in 1957. It was a major center for the slave trade. He ends his trip in Senegal, with a visit to Goree Island from where about two million people were shipped as slaves to American colonies between 1680 and 1786.
Although the White House had previously announced that Clinton would not make a formal apology for the slave trade, Museveni's typically forthright opinion was bound to be welcome in Washington.